The national council of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), the minority right-wing party whose leader Martin Dimitrov stepped down in May after the party rejected the continuation of its Blue Coalition partnership with Ivan Kostov’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, chose Boris Markov as UDF acting leader on June 5 2012.
While it has the name of the massive anti-communist coalition of the time of Bulgaria’s transition to democracy – the UDF was in power from 1997 to 2001 with Kostov as prime minister – the UDF currently is a minority force that, according to polls, may expect at best no more than a few seats at Bulgaria’s next scheduled parliamentary election in 2013.
Markov, who was head of the UDF election campaign staff, will act as interim leader of the party until the election of a “permanent” leader, about two months from now.
Senior UDF member Ivan Sotirov was reported by national radio as saying that the party needed a debate about its future that went beyond the question of coalitions. The UDF had lost a lot of time in recent years over the question of coalitions and because of personal conflicts, he said.
UDF secretary-general Christo Panchugov said that right-wing voters were tired of the divisions “and tired of people who have nothing to offer them except to argue among themselves who is better”.
Kostov’s party has had its own problems, with resignations and defections, and polls currently give it scant to no chance of returning to the National Assembly,Bulgaria’s unicameral Parliament, in 2013.
Bulgaria’s political landscape currently is dominated by the centre-right Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, which got the largest share of seats in Parliament in 2009 and is expected by pollsters to do so again next year.
(illustration: Billy Alexander)